On a recent flight back to Vancouver, it occurred to me how quickly I bonded with my neighbour in seat 18 J. We talked for three hours non-stop as soon as the plane took off. As the flight was over 14 hours direct from Australia, the conversation had to be good. As we chatted, I began thinking about how often this kind of encounter happens in the air, yet it rarely occurs on the ground. We engage in dialogue with people we have never met, sometimes sharing intimate details of our lives that we dare not share with anyone else! Of course, some of us have wished that we could switch seats because the person next to us is drunk, boring, or so obnoxious we contemplate faking an emergency in order to escape! Sometimes we can request to switch seats. On the odd, rare occasion, romance blossoms. The truth is that we are often comfortable telling someone we have never met our innermost secrets, probably because we feel secure knowing we will never see that person again. Perhaps a true, lasting friendship will form…a rather unique and unexpected outcome. Isn’t it strange that we can form a close bond with a person in the next seat, yet we cannot talk to our own customers with the same level of ease? Unfortunately, time has become an even more precious commodity. We become aware of the passage of time on a long flight, but back on earth we often feel that there is never enough time! It seems to me that the ability to patiently cultivate a meaningful connection with customers is a low priority. Our organizations tell us that “time is money”. We feel pressure to close a deal or make a sale. Or, we prefer sending an email offering of our latest promotion as a way to stay in touch. If we don’t like our customers, or we are uncomfortable with a concern they may have, we often choose the easy way out by not returning their messages. The best client relationships are those where we value time as a priceless commodity. We nurture these relationships for the long-term. In fact, it is with these customers that we rarely talk about business. When there is mutual trust and understanding, friendship forms, conversation is effortless and selling is secondary.
Earlier today I learned that my very close friend who suffered from polio as a child was hit by a vehicle reversing as she was crossing the street in broad daylight in suburban Vancouver. The driver apparently just kept coming to the horror of onlookers…three of whom called the ambulance. Her “good leg” was broken and she’s just undergone surgery. She will be in a wheelchair while recovering and no doubt she will come back fighting fit. Right now I feel frustration as I am thousands of miles away in Australia and I cannot be there to help. My husband told me that she has had lots of visitors in hospital and she is in good spirits. This is a piece of news that came so out of the blue I am still reeling and have yet to speak to her due to the time difference. We don’t know what life will reveal from one day to the next. This feisty woman who pushed a wheelchair away once to walk only with the aid of a cane will do it again, I’m sure. Next time you feel the slightest nudge of self-pity, please revisit this blog post.
How do you get 15 million hits in one day on You Tube? Grow up in Scotland, enter a TV talent show, wear your Sunday best and unashamedly tell the world you are still waiting to be kissed. Was that easy? Well, not quite. Susan Boyle was living her life for 47 years and endured her share of challenges before deciding to audition for Britain’s Got Talent. The seven minute seven seconds You Tube video capturing an incredible piece of reality TV has set the world on fire for oh so many reasons. To call her an unassuming 47 year old Scottish church volunteer who lives with her cat, Pebbles, will no doubt prove to be the understatement of the year. Her rendition of “I dreamed a dream” from “Les Miserables”…a song selection with such a delicious irony that shocked Simon Cowell to his core on the show was mesmerizing to watch. If Susan had a dream to sing in front of a large audience and simply be satisfied with that, her dream was realized. However, the world has bigger plans for Susan Boyle and it will be a pleasure to watch them unfold. Teased as a child for her learning disability, giving up her plans for a singing career to look after her mother who passed away in 2007 at the age of 91 and now thrust into the world spotlight with more social media commentary written about her than any person in a twenty four hour time span, it will be exciting to watch Susan’s dream unfold. Her story inspires millions to believe in themselves and follow their dream. In a world that encourages the quest for physical perfection, a designer wardrobe, an obsession with everything external and all things insignificant, Susan Boyle’s performance reminds us all that true beauty lies within and that our purpose in life is to use the divine talents that we all possess to simply bring joy to others.
Well, I’ve finally joined the 21st century and stated a blog. I know, I know…It’s about time. I have had lots of meaningful thoughts to share with y’all but I haven’t done anything until now. Stay tuned for insights regarding personal leadership, workplace dynamics, generations at work, why little kids rule, helpful links to cool articles and twitters and much more!
PS: I can’t believe that the word “blog” still comes up in the spell check on a blog website!